For many local governments workforce costs often representing more than two-thirds of the operating budget, with a significant portion being part a public sector union’s negotiated or collective bargaining agreement. In many cases, the finance officer is not always involved in these negotiations, even though these agreements have tremendous fiscal implications to a government’s budget (Government Finance Officers Association, March 2017).
So how could finance officers better participate in these compensation discussions?
According the GFOA, finance officers could make a difference by first working with other government team members to prioritize the bargaining issues and to understand and validate the costs and savings associated with each issue. They could also:
- Communicate the financial pressures and advocate for longer-term fiscal stewardship issues
- Assess the financial ramifications of any alternative settlement scenarios
- Determine any proposal costs and affordability
- Determine the effect on different employee units
- fully evaluate retroactive proposals
- consider one-time payments
- weigh the advantages of negotiated benefits
Paper-based systems and spreadsheet software are simply not sufficient to deliver the budget implication capabilities that municipalities deal with, including the complex financial realities of today’s collective bargaining environment. Using a web-based budgeting tool that offers one point of data entry and seamless integration with an organization’s financial, human resources, and payroll systems will help financial officers meet these challenges.
For example, Questica Budget’s Salaries module enables the Finance Department to allocate costs to different employee units, providing an organization with accurate long-term costs and forecasts. Salary and benefit updates are also located in the system. Creating different “what-if” scenarios for budget increases in this easy-to-use interface is straightforward, and the impact of each scenario is immediately understood.
Our software gives municipalities the ability to add data and make modifications, and then roll the information forward into future years without additional complications. We also allow users to generate reports based on various criteria and categories. This flexibility is invaluable in a municipality’s communication process, especially with numerous stakeholders.
|Going to GFOA 2017 in Denver?
Stop by our booth (#608) from May 21-23 to for a demo of the Questica suite of products, including our powerful new OpenBook transparency and data visualization tool
Questica’s solutions were purposely built for the public sector. We currently manage over $55 billion in annual public sector budgets for over 200 customers.
If you would like to find out how we can help your municipality prepare for the collective bargaining process, schedule a demo of Questica’s solutions today.